Politics

Knife offences soar to highest in decade after police’s stop-and-search crackdown


THE number of knife offences has soared to its highest in a decade.

There were 22,306 blade and offensive weapon crimes in England and Wales in the year to June, Ministry of Justice figures reveal.

 Knife offences have reached a decade high after a stop-and-search crackdown by police

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Knife offences have reached a decade high after a stop-and-search crackdown by policeCredit: Alamy

This is a three per cent rise on the previous year and the highest since 2009 when there were 26,364.

The number of people cautioned or convicted for carrying knives also hit a record 14,135 in the year to September 2019.

Separate figures showed an even bigger rise in the number of stop-and- searches.

Police carried out 383,629 in the 12 months to the end of March, up from 282,231 in the previous year.

Government insiders said the figures showed the effectiveness of stop- and-search.

The Home Office said: “Stop-and-search helps seize deadly weapons from our streets.

“We have always been clear no one should be stopped and searched due to race.”

Of the 383,629 stop-and- searches, 279,601 resulted in no further action — nearly three in four.

The MoJ figures showed that for 11,429 offenders caught with a knife — 71 per cent — it was their first crime of this kind.

They also revealed that in the year to September, 38 per cent of knife and offensive weapon crimes resulted in an immediate custodial sentence.

That is up from 23 per cent in the previous year.

The Sun Says

THE scale of Britain’s knife crime epidemic is shocking.

It exploded under the last two Tory Governments, which grew complacent when crime fell and cut police too far.

In fairness, 38 per cent of offenders are now jailed immediately, up from 23 in 2009. That is at least a straw to clutch.

And the new Government is finally throwing everything at the problem, with 20,000 cops being recruited, more stop-and-search and longer sentences.

All are welcome. As is the review of Police and Crime Commissioners — often third-rate politicians — to establish if they are a hindrance or a help.

But the problem is complex, and Boris Johnson is right to order every department in Whitehall to seek solutions.

Too many children with no prospects cannot resist the lure of “county lines” drug gangs fighting bloody turf wars.

Better policing and tougher justice are only part of the answer. Schools, charities and youth workers must have the resources to set such kids on a better path.

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